Gunther on top in final day of Bahrain test

Arden's Maximilian Gunther
Arden's Maximilian Gunther

Maximilian Gunther set the fastest lap of the FIA Formula 2 Championship pre-season test at Sakhir, Bahrain on the final day, leading the way with a 1:42.756 set in the morning session to beat Charouz Racing System’s Louis Deletraz and ART Grand Prix’s George Russell. Gunther’s BWT Arden teammate Nirei Fukuzumi was quickest in the afternoon session.

Roy Nissany of Campos Vexatec Racing jumped the rest of the field onto the track, beating DAMS’ Alexander Albon and Fukuzumi out of the pitlane. Gunther led the opening stages, making up for a lack of running from the previous day’s afternoon session to take the early advantage.

Although Trident’s Arjun Maini – holder of yesterday’s fastest lap – briefly leapfrogged the German driver, Gunther quickly reclaimed the top berth on the timing screens with the only lap in the 1m42s, ending the first hour on top, accosted soon after by Deletraz and RUSSIAN TIME’s Tadasuke Makino.

Jack Aitken (ART Grand Prix) brought out the red flag shortly after the second hour, coming to a halt at turn 8, leaving 45 minutes of the session to run after the track went live once more. Multiple teams took the opportunity to practice tire changes, with the pitlane becoming a hive of activity after the green flag.

As attention turned to race preparation, Gunther’s time remained unchallenged throughout the rest of the session, staying three tenths of a second ahead of Deletraz, as Russell completed the top three ahead of teammate Aitken. Carlin’s Sergio Sette Camara moved ahead of Makino for fifth, as Maini and Luca Ghiotto (Campos) grabbed seventh and eighth. Albon and Charouz’s Antonio Fuoco completed the top half of the field.

Ghiotto was the first driver on track for the afternoon session, taking the initiative ahead of the two Charouz drivers to commence the post-break running. The Italian headed the early timesheets, before Roberto Merhi (MP Motorsport) ended the first half-hour on top with over a second’s advantage over the field.

Although Fuoco, Makino and his RUSSIAN TIME teammate Artem Markelov spent periods of time nestled behind Merhi in the standings, the Spanish driver kept them at arm’s length to retain control of the timing boards going into the final hour of running as the majority focused further on race simulations.

Markelov then came to a halt to bring out the first red flag, the session resuming with 45 minutes left on the clock, before Ralph Boschung (MP) brought out a second just quarter of an hour later. The restart shuffled the order somewhat, with Fukuzumi ending Merhi’s hold on first position before Gunther returned to the top of the pile shortly after.

In the final ten minutes, Fukuzumi surged to the lead of the timing boards to complete Arden’s lock-out of both sessions. Gunther completed a one-two for the British team with Fuoco third, as Camara and Markelov completed the top five. Long-time leader Merhi ended the day sixth, ahead of British duo Norris and Russell – the latter clocking in 58 laps over the afternoon’s running. Makino held the ninth-best time, as Sean Gelael (PREMA) grabbed tenth ahead of Albon.

The Formula 2 season will officially begin in two weeks’ time – returning to Bahrain – from the 6-8 April for the first races of 2018.

FIA Formula 2 Bahrain Test – Day 3 Morning Session

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1

Maximilian Gunther

BWT Arden

1:42.756

28

2

Louis Deletraz

Charouz Racing System

1:43.058

39

3

George Russell

ART Grand Prix

1:43.109

24

4

Jack Aitken

ART Grand Prix

1:43.143

24

5

Sergio Sette Camara

Carlin

1:43.149

28

6

Tadasuke Makino

RUSSIAN TIME

1:43.209

21

7

Arjun Maini

Trident

1:43.254

28

8

Luca Ghiotto

Campos Vexatec Racing

1:43.266

22

9

Alexander Albon

DAMS

1:43.388

29

10

Antonio Fuoco

Charouz Racing System

1:43.474

21

11

Lando Norris

Carlin

1:43.490

28

12

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:43.682

23

13

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:43.715

30

14

Ralph Boschung

MP Motorsport

1:43.828

17

15

Nyck de Vries

PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing

1:43.876

22

16

Santino Ferrucci

Trident

1:43.890

22

17

Roy Nissany

Campos Vexatec Racing

1:43.975

22

18

Sean Gelael

PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing

1:44.051

20

19

Roberto Merhi

MP Motorsport

1:44.625

28

20

Nirei Fukuzumi

BWT Arden

1:44.778

12

FIA Formula 2 Bahrain Test – Day 3 Afternoon Session

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1

Nirei Fukuzumi

BWT Arden

1:43.430

35

2

Maximilian Gunther

BWT Arden

1:44.145

35

3

Antonio Fuoco

Charouz Racing System

1:44.152

39

4

Sergio Sette Camara

Carlin

1:45.310

21

5

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:46.895

46

6

Roberto Merhi

MP Motorsport

1:46.908

45

7

Lando Norris

Carlin

1:46.937

24

8

George Russell

ART Grand Prix

1:47.860

58

9

Tadasuke Makino

RUSSIAN TIME

1:47.239

34

10

Sean Gelael

PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing

1:47.419

45

11

Alexander Albon

DAMS

1:48.110

48

12

Ralph Boschung

MP Motorsport

1:48.412

24

13

Santino Ferrucci

Trident

1:48.454

43

14

Roy Nissany

Campos Vexatec Racing

1:48.469

28

15

Jack Aitken

ART Grand Prix

1:48.600

53

16

Luca Ghiotto

Campos Vexatec Racing

1:48.759

56

17

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:48.776

34

18

Nyck de Vries

PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing

1:48.857

29

19

Louis Deletraz

Charouz Racing System

1:49.013

41

20

Arjun Maini

Trident

1:49.327

33

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